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If a business wants to make it in today’s online world, they need to have an inbound marketing campaign. Unlike traditional interruption-based marketing, which pops into people’s’ lives unexpectedly (think television ads), inbound marketing tries to get customers to come to them.
Whether it’s a small startup or a large corporation, more businesses are starting to place an emphasis on inbound marketing because of the results it can provide. However, you don’t want to run just any inbound marketing campaign – you want to run a winning one. Here are 7 strategies for doing just that:
Don’t Cut Corners on the Content
The first thing you need to know is that you shouldn’t skimp on your content. Content is the foundation of every inbound marketing campaign, and as such, you need to pay extra attention to it. You can do all the marketing you want, but if someone lands on a page that is poorly written or provides little value, your marketing efforts will go to waste.
Besides making sure the content is of a high quality, there are a few other things you’ll want to do. For starters, make sure that you optimize your content for search engines. This will help your content to rank highly in the search results, so that more people can find you. After that, you’ll also want your content to look great. This means breaking up long sections of text into paragraphs, using high quality images to support your post, and breaking up the article into clearly defined sections with header tags.
Remember, content is compounding. This means that when you write a piece of content, it stays online forever. The more content you write, and the better it is, the more people you’ll bring in over time. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to the quality and design of your posts now, so that you get it right the first time.
Focus On The 3 H’s
For every part of your inbound marketing campaign, you want to focus on what’s called the 3 H’s. These are Helpful, Human, and Holistic. This idea should be a factor in every decision you make regarding your campaign, no matter how small.
What separates inbound marketing from traditional interruption-based marketing is that it is more focused on the customer. Rather than popping into someone’s life via a TV commercial, or as they watch a YouTube video, instead you are trying to be of use and attract customers that way.
The best way to do this is by being helpful. By providing your customers with the information that they need, they’ll not only come to see you as an expert in the field, but they’ll start to trust you.
For example, let’s say you run an electronics store. On your blog you could have a wide range of articles on how to repair different issues a person might be having with their computer. Someone then searches for their problem online, comes across your article, and learns about your store. You could even advertise your electronics repair service at the end of the blog to try and turn them into a customer.
As you’re trying to be helpful, remember the second H – Human. You want to write your content like it’s for another human being. Tell stories, connect with them emotionally, and try to answer the questions they are likely to have.
Finally, you want to be holistic. This means that each piece of your strategy should support the other pieces. Nothing you do works in isolation. For example, inside your newest blog post, you can link to similar posts you have written on the subject that your viewers might find helpful.
Know Your Audience
For your inbound marketing campaign to have an effect, you need to tailor your content to your audience. You’re not going to write the same type of content for a 70-year-old retiree as you would a 25-year-old recent graduate. You also won’t write the same type of content for a store owner as you would a store manager. Everyone has different concerns and knowledge levels, and you need to keep these in mind when writing your content.
To do this, you’ll want to develop a buyer’s persona. A buyer’s persona is essentially a detailed description of your ideal customer. Who are they? How old are they? Where are they located? What’s their education level? How much disposable income do they have?
These are the types of questions you’ll want to answer when developing your buyer’s persona, as they will help you to flesh out this imaginary person. Keep in mind that you can have several buyer persona’s that fit your business, but that you should only focus on one per piece of content.
Besides the buyer’s persona, you should also aim each piece of content at a particular stage of the buyer’s journey. The buyer’s journey is the process all customers go through when they are deciding on a purchase and it looks like this: Awareness of the Problem -> Consideration of Options -> Decision.
Is this piece of content for people who know they have a problem, but don’t know the solution? Or is it for someone who knows the solution to their problem, and is now considering their options? Each piece of content you produce should fall into one of these stages, and you should keep it in mind when developing the content.
Collect Contact Information
In the Inbound Marketing world, customer information is your currency. The more contacts you are able to develop, the more successful your campaign. By gathering a list of customers, you are developing a database full of people who have an interest in your product. You can return to these people over and over again to sell them on new products or services.
There are plenty of ways that you can start collecting customer information. You could ask for their cell phone number or email address when they go through checkout at your online store. Or, you could offer up a newsletter on your website, that promises future discounts and updates on products, in exchange for their email address. All you need is a simple contact form, and a database to college their email addresses in. Here are some great content form examples to get you started.
Even something as simple as asking people to follow you on Twitter is a great way to form a connection with visitors to your website and helps you to connect with them again down the line.
Have The Right Tools
It’s going to be hard to run a successful inbound marketing campaign if you don’t have the right tools. Having the right tools not only makes your job easier, but they can help your team stay on the same page and increase efficiency. So what tools do you need?
To start, you’ll want Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. This tool will save all the contact information you gather about your clients, and help you reach out to them again in the future.
Next, make sure you have an easy to use Content Management System (CMS). With this you can easily manage all the content you create, from writing to editing to sharing it with team members.
Finally, you’ll want some good communication software. Unless you’re doing everything on your own, you’ll want a simple way to work with your team. Something that allows you to edit documents simultaneously, along with sending messages and sharing files. There are many tools that can help your inbound marketing efforts, but these are the core three that you should focus on first.
Put A Distribution Plan In Place
Every time you develop a piece of content, you need to have a detailed plan in place to get it out. Simply uploading your new content to your website won’t do you much good if no one knows about it. Your distribution plan can consist of several different things.
For starters, you can share the blog post with social media posts. Let your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and followers on any other site know that you’ve written a new post and include a link. Importantly, don’t just share it once. Post it a few times over the course of a week, so that more of your audience sees the message.
If you have an email list, you can also send out a notice here. Include a link to the post, along with some brief information as to why they might find it useful. If you do this too often your subscribers might get annoyed, so try to limit these messages to your best pieces of content.
Repurpose Your Content
Finally, creating new content is a lot of work. A smart inbound marketing strategy will make use of the work you’ve already done. This means you need to repurpose your content. What does repurposing your content look like?
One example is turning a series of blog posts into an eBook. You can take all your posts, format them for a book, include a new introduction and conclusion, and provide this book to your email subscribers. Now you’ve put in less work but have found a new way of reaching people.
Another thing you could do is turn your posts into a podcast. Some people prefer to listen to things rather than read, so doing this would open you up to even more customers. Grab a microphone, read out your blog post, and add it online.
There are plenty of ways to repurpose your content. If you’re looking for some suggestions, you can try this list.
Take Your Time With Inbound Marketing
As you can see, a winning inbound marketing campaign isn’t something you can throw together over time. It takes time, planning, attention to detail, and solid execution. So, write down the strategies mentioned above – or bookmark this page – and come back to the list when you’re developing your strategy. Doing so will take you more time but will also set you up for long-term success.